Natasha pushed herself up from the bed she had been napping on as the shuttle traveled back from Outpost 42. It had been a perfect two weeks. The wedding and the semi-honeymoon on the shores of Gamma Tiltium lived up to every expectation she had plus some. Natasha had never lived by the ocean yet the years on the Outpost spending long weekends and lazy summer days at Duncan’s cabin made her want a place to call home more like Dante’s beloved Mediterranean Sea than her Baltic Sea. Picking up the PaDD that was next to her she opened the page she was looking at before drifting off to sleep.
The image was of home. It wasn’t ultra-modern but clean with hints of the past etched into the stone driveway that meandered under cypress trees to the doorway of the home. The landscape was pure Mediterranean style with lacy ferns and wispy flowers that swayed gently under the subtlest breeze. The front of the house looked out onto the turquoise waters of the Italian Sea. Natasha flipped through each picture a million times and paused on each one imagining her furniture and pictures gracing the walls. Thick, plush carpets would cover the glistening white marble floors where the baby would play and then grow calling the fresh air home and not stainless steel walls of a Pendragon Class starship.
Natasha gently caressed her tummy feeling the baby stir Neonato had gotten very still lately and the kicks that had kept not only her but Dante awake for the past few weeks were almost absent. Nat knew this was normal as she approached her due date. Still, she couldn’t resist the urge to pat her stomach to comfort the baby. Soon it would be in her arms with a name instead of the Italian word for baby. Adjusting the PaDD so that it faced her tummy, Natasha began to speak softly.
Dante came to the door quietly, in one hand a cup of coffee for Natasha but he paused as he arrived. Nat had begun to speak to little neonato, and he never got tired of listening to the change in her voice when she spoke to their baby. Most times Natasha was the kind of person that drew people to her with her friendly and boisterous way of being. She was feisty, intelligent and fun to be with and people simply wanted to be around her, to know her and call her their friend. For Dante that meant that she made him feel like the centre of her universe, and for him she was very much the centre of his. It also meant that Dante saw the sensual and romantic side that few others saw, the side of her that revealed a woman with a deep well of passions and desires that she shared only with him in their most intimate moments.
Like this one, the intimacy wasn’t physical in nature but it was there in the sound of her voice. He could close his eyes and just listen to her, the way her voice changed and grew softer. Motherly, loving and caring in a way that only the most vulnerable children who came into her sickbay heard. It was a tone of voice Nat spoke in that Dante knew meant that little neonato was going to feel like the centre of her universe as well, wrapped in love like a warm and snug blanket. Listening to her, he smiled gently and watched her. He was in no rush to interrupt the moment.
“This will be your room,” she pulled up a picture. “It overlooks the water. Every night you can hear the waves and let them put you to sleep. Every morning we can take a walk on the beach and look for shells or,” she stopped talking and let her eyes drift to the doorway. “Hello Mr. Knight,” she smiled setting the PaDD down. “I woke up and you were gone. Technically it is still our honeymoon. Maybe we should have stayed on Gamma and had the baby instead of the Saracen,” she said playfully but her tone had a hint of questioning to it.
Lt. Natasha Knight Medical
“Hello Mrs Knight,” he replied quietly but stood up from where he leant against the door frame. “I thought you might be awake soon, so I went to get coffee for you.” He handed her the cup of liquid gold and then sat down on the bed next to her.
“God you are a prince among men. Did I ever tell you that,” she said taking the cup from him and blowing softly over the top to cool it some. “I love being pregnant and having my roommate but once you evicted,” she patted her stomach, “I am not going to miss having to check my medical stats before I order a cup of coffee.” Taking a deep sip she looked up at Dante. “So Mr. Knight,” her face showing a huge smile using his name, “are we almost back to the Saracen?” Natasha rubbed her back feeling a small stab of pain. This wasn’t too uncommon of an action. Backaches, when you were pregnant, were as common as gaining weight and eating like you never had seen food before. “You know maybe we should have stayed on Gamma. Dr. Stone could have delivered the baby and most of the crew we knew like family. Plus my family was there and,” she took another sip of her coffee. She was putting the cart before the horse right now. There was a way to get Dante to agree to the insane and blurting it out wasn’t the way. Dante was smart To get him to do something you have to flip flop and counter move n conversations until he was thoroughly lost and agreed to whatever you wanted simply to end the conversation.
“I thought about staying and having the baby there,” he nodded as his fingers slowly made light patterns on Nat’s tummy, “but I wanted you to be able to rest in your own bed and quarters instead of having to take a shuttle ride home with a newborn. I don’t care about the wonders of modern medicine or that you think you know better than me,” he grinned at her, knowing full well she did in fact know better than him and he leant down and kissed her lips gently to show her that he knew she did. “But after neonato arrives, I am still going to be on leave and we can spend it together with our bubba and you can rest. I loved how you were describing a house to the little one, it sounded beautiful.”
Captain Knight, CO
“It is,” she leaned back into his body holding up the PaDD. “Let me show you.” Natasha brought up the images of the Italian villa showing the grounds first. “So I found this place. It is on the water with tons of Southern exposure and a magnificent view of the Mediterranean Sea. All of our days on the Gamma Tiltmum Ocean showed me I want to wake up in the morning to the sounds of surf and seagulls,” she wiggled some trying to find a good spot to curl up on Dante. No matter what position she was laying in recently she was never comfortable.
“Oh that looks nice,” Dante agreed as he took the PaDD from her so that she could find a spot she could lie next to him in, and he could see the picture clearly without it waving in front of him. “This area looks familiar, I think my family used to visit this province when I was a child on holiday.” Dante looked at the picture for a few moments, then looked back at Nat and kissed her forehead softly. “I was going to buy us a cottage in Russia when we retired from Starfleet remember? Apple orchards and such? It was part of the package deal I had to think of to get you to attempt marrying me a third time.” Dante grinned and relaxed back against the wall, putting his free arm around her to help her snuggle into him and so she could reach the PaDD when she was ready.
“I love the mountains and trees back home but not the cold weather. Sure it looks stunning,” she smiled “but,” Natasha sat up grabbing a pillow and stuffing it behind her, “we can just beam to the Baltic when we want.” Laying back on the pillow she arched her back like she was in a bizarre yoga position rather than relaxing. Bound and determined to push through Natasha brought up the pictures of the landscape before she showed him the house.
He looked at her a moment as she seemed to contort into ever weirder positions as they talked, smiling as he compared her in his mind to a two year old that couldn’t sit still for 30 seconds. “Tell me about this place pumpkin, it looks nice.”
“So the house comes on 5 acres. This a vineyard where we can make our own wine. We could open up a vodka distillery and vineyard. We can call it the best of Daye Drinking and Knightly Romance.” The name was so lame she couldn’t help but laugh. It was off the cuff but she needed to get him on board and silly at times was the best way to do it.
“No. Quite simply No.” Dante said and the tone in his voice meant it was clear he wasn’t backing down from his decision. “We are not calling it that. That is a terrible name, how did you even come up with that?” He shook his head in mock disbelief. “Okay so there is a vineyard, that’s a bonus. I’m guessing that it has enough land to have a potato field for your vodka then? How about olives? We have to grow olives so that we can pair them with the cheese we will make from the goats and sheep as well.”
“Easy there killer. I am not doing the goat route but maybe a couple of ducks.” It was then she broke out in laughter that shook her entire body. “God remember that assignment I have on Rho Puppis when I started my clinical rotations and those chickens?” Natasha could not stop laughing. “The connection sucked unless I sat in that one spot but you always seemed to hear that damn rooster even when you couldn’t hear me. I swear we sounded like that horizon holo. Can you hear me now,” she let out a happy sigh. “God the memories but,” she held up a finger, “we are not owning chickens. Ducks possibly but no chickens.”
“You know I love that rooster,” Dante said springing to the poultry defense. “Whenever I called to speak to you in the morning that thing was always there, in the background like that drill sergeant at the Academy. Sounded a lot like the guy too.” Dante joined Nat in her laugh, and then stroked a loose hair from her face. “Baby you are talking about Italy, right? You know we are having a goat whether we want one or not. Goat’s come with the territory, we might as well milk it for all it’s worth. Goat’s cheese goes amazingly with wine and after a few vodka’s, you won’t know the difference.
Dante seemed to be getting right into the conversation, he was seemingly highly attentive but he had learned during Natasha’s pregnancy that this kind of thing was normal. Like her odd food cravings, she would get fixated on an idea for a day or two, maybe a week, and then find something else to take her attention and the original topic of conversation and planning was all but forgotten. He still had about a dozen folders full of information he had researched for her about other things she had taken a fixation to, and he had gotten on board with before her topic changed. Classes on natural cooking to avoid the latest popular belief by the space hippies that replicator food wasn’t actually healthy, traditional Andorian yoga classes to improve metabolism, even Klingon massage techniques to emphasize muscle tone while pregnant. That one had given him finger cramps for three days.
“How about Knight and Daye Estate? We can put the label on our wine and cheese, and Vodka.
Captain Knight, CO
“How about this Kih,” she felt a stabbing pain in her back which she rubbed hard with the heel of her hand. Making an O shape with her mouth she blew out a long breath.
He tilted his head slightly and looked at her as she made that face. “You doing okay there wildcat? That one looked like it stung.”
Even though she was uncomfortable Natasha couldn’t help but feel better. Dante could make her feel better with a look or a single sentence. This was because he knew her unlike anyone else in the world knew her. Dante’s nickname for her was personal and private and rarely used except for two occasions. The first was not going to happen in a million years until she felt better in the morning. The second was when he had no physical intent but was genuinely concerned for her. The tone of his voice spoke volumes and while he would never admit it, Dante was far more worried about the baby coming than Natasha was. The past few weeks he had been very attentive worried about every twitch. “Your kid has a healthy kick,” she smiled softly at him.
“Of course neonato does, our baby is Italian with a healthy dose of the best part of Russia, his Mother.” Then Dante smiled again, “And going to play rugby.”
“Or a gynmast,” she held her breath. “I swear they think my ribs are the parallel bars.” Not wanting Dante to work she smiled.
“I am fine I just…can you rub this spot,” she said pointing to the small of her back. “I swear he is using my kidney for a trampoline at times. Just use the heel of your palm and push hard like Tor’Quellno taught you in that Klingon massage holovid. ” Rolling onto her side, Natasha didn’t give Dante a chance to say no but brought up the PaDD again.
“Oh so now those vids come in handy?” Dante said as he adjusted his position to let him reach her back as she asked. “I thought you only wanted to watch them because of all the studded leather, I’m surprised you even know that guys name.” He began to rub the spot she had told him like she described, but not too hard. Klingon massage wasn’t exactly something design to ease tension, more to give the body a pre-battle workout.
“So this place has ten bedrooms which are more than enough for the kids and our parents when they come to visit. It has two bathrooms so we need to add at least one more but I bet we can turn one of the rooms into a....Dante, I said rub not caress,” she held her breath as another twinge of pain coursed through her body. “Use your palm and move him okay,” she sounded both mad and frustrated at the same time.
Dante paused for a moment and looked up at her in surprise, then began to push harder with his palm like she had told him originally. “Ten bedrooms? My god how many kids are you planning on Tasia?” Adjusting his body again, he began to put his shoulder into the pressure he was applying as well.
“At least a few more,” she held her breath and produced a small grunt at the pain cycled. “We already have six of the rooms taken with the three of us, my parents, your parents, and our grandmothers.” Her sentence was strained as she pushed back into his hand. It felt so much better with Dante rubbing her back but still was not making it go away.
“What? Nope, we’re going to put them up in a hotel when they visit. You have any idea what kind of trouble those people in a horde like that would cause? Especially Babushka.”
“How is this? Is it hard enough for you? We could always pretend you’re giving birth and you can practice calling me names, you know like we do on Mondays and Fridays?” He grinned as he pressed into her back with his palm, hopefully he would have gotten a grin out of her despite the pain.
Captain Knight, CO
Or maybe we don’t have to pretend, she sad to herself. She avoided saying this out loud. The baby wasn’t due for another week. Aside from the constant Braxton Hicks she felt fine and Dr. Stone said everything was on track. “Perfect just don’t stop okay?” Shifting her position so that Dante could still rub her lower back but she could show him the house, Natasha continued her virtual tour. “So the front of the house has a pool and it overlooks the water. We can have pool parties and neonato can have his first birthday there along with his second and third,” Natasha started to explain how it was going to happen. Slowly but she was laying the groundwork. “You can barbecue. You love to barbecue. Heck living on actual land we can cook out every night if you want to.” The excitement in her voice was becoming evident.
Lt. Natasha Knight. Medical
“Hold on there cow girl,” Dante said and looked up, but he didn’t stop working in Nats back with his palm. “You had me at pool, and especially barbeque, but what do you mean his first and second birthdays?” He paused a but here as he looked at her. “It’s going to be a little hard to Captain the Saracen from Italy, my love.”
Captain Knight, CO
“It might,” she held her breath but this time it wasn’t due to any pain. It was more to decide which path to take Dante down. There were a lot of paths right now and some he might need an invading army of Borg to get him traveling down a specific road. The key to Dante was bringing up things gently and with finesse. Her husband rarely fought her on any decision. This was because Natasha knew how to handle Dante. She knew the language to use. “We can focus on that later. Right now let me show you your ah fice,” she said in a sing-song tone. Natasha flipped to a single image of a large desk in a room with a fireplace. The desk was a dark walnut color which made it stand out in stark contrast to the white marble floors and fireplace. The large single window on the room looked out over the olive trees and grapevines lining the hills of the back yard. “You know the bonus with this win…oh,” she arched her back some trying to work out a kink. “The view changes with the seasons. Remember last month when I was in your office and you were groaning that the celestial sky was pretty but always the same?”
“Then remember you said how you missed the rain,” Natasha rapidly added.
“Well, now you can see night and day, rain or shine, summer or winter. Huh huh, what do you think,” she said in an upbeat tone. “And it will increase your productivity by 207%. I read that in the last Parenting holozine. It was all about how to get more work done at home than in the office.” Now was when she would start the gradual arc. Now she slipped in things where Dante could only agree. It was not like he hasn’t said he missed the seasons a few weeks good.
Lt. Natasha Knight medical
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